Mon 6 Jul 2009
For most of the time that I remember hanging around retail wine stores, going back decades, almost the only rosé wine available was Château d’Aqueria, usually languishing on some lower shelf because clerks in the store had no idea what to do with it and usually years beyond the vintage. “So, this is what French rosé tastes like, huh?” someone might have said in 1985, while sipping the d’Aqueria from, oh, 1979 that was gathering dust in some vinous Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
No more, because the rest of the world has caught up with Château d’Aqueria, and rosé wines are popping up from every country and many regions and from many producers who even five years ago would not have considered making a rosé were it not for an uptick in the wine’s popularity.
Among the intense — if that word is appropriate when the wine in question should be notable for fleetness and delicacy — I say, in the intense competition for the consumer’s attention, Château d’Aqueria, an estate founded in Tavel in 1595, can not only stand the heat, but it can kick many of the others out of the kitchen. The estate was purchased in 1920 by Jean Olivier; it is operated now by his son, Paul de Bez, and grandsons, Vincent and Bruno.
Five grapes make up the blend of Château d’Aqueria 2008, 50 percent grenache, 15 percent cinsault, 10 percent mourvèdre, which are red grapes, and 20 percent clairette and five percent bourboulenc, which are white; all are common in the southern Rhone Valley and are permitted, for example, in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
D’Aqueria ’08 sports a radiant dark melon-light magenta color. A bouquet of strawberries and Rainier cherries is spiced with touches of cranberry, sour cherry candy and melon ball. In the mouth, this is lovely, sleek and smooth and refreshing, featuring deft balance between ripe, lithe cherry and plum flavors and vibrant acidity, with pretty heady intensity for a rosé. The wine finishes with a fillip of citrusy spice and limestone. Made completely in stainless steel, the wine sees no oak. Serve chilled. A perfect luncheon and picnic wine for the rest of this summer or the rest of the year. Excellent. About $19.
Imported by Kobrand Corp, New York.